October 12, 2021 | Ohio Law
Are you wondering what possession of a controlled substance means in Ohio? Possession of a controlled substance is a very common charge in Cincinnati.
In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department made 3,370 drug arrests in 2014. Of these, 2,731 (81%) were for possession, while the rest were for sale or manufacture of a controlled substance.
Although it is a common charge, possession of a controlled substance is an extremely serious crime. These charges are almost always felony charges that come with substantial prison time.
What Does the State Need to Prove for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Ohio?
If you are arrested for possession of a controlled substance in Ohio, the State is already building its case to put you behind bars. Do not make the mistake of thinking this will go away on its own — you need aggressive legal representation.
You cannot be convicted for a crime until the State proves each individual element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
The elements that the State has to prove for possession of a controlled substance are:
- Obtained, possessed, or used
- A controlled substance
At trial, the State will present evidence for each element. For instance, they may have officers testify, submit body or dash cam footage, or have a lab technician provide test results of the substance. Oftentimes, having drugs in your car, backpack, house, or on your person is enough for the State to prove you knew about them.
What is Possession With Intent in Ohio?
Possession with intent to distribute is a more serious crime than simple possession. This is because it involves larger amounts of the controlled substance. In fact, the larger amount of the drug is typically what distinguishes a simple possession charge from a possession with intent charge.
Ohio can charge “Trafficking Drugs” when:
- Sell, offer to sell, transport, prepare for shipment, prepare for distribution
- A controlled substance
Sometimes possession with intent (trafficking) is proven by the presence of a sale, such as baggies and scales. Other times, intent to sell is proven based on witness testimony or controlled buys. More often than not, a “large” amount of drug is used to prove intent to sell.
The threshold amount to infer intent to distribute is called the “Bulk Amount” in Ohio. The bulk amount is defined differently for every controlled substance. Some drugs have a bulk amount defined by weight; others by the number of doses possessed.
Simply being above the bulk amount is not the end of the story. Ohio imposes more severe penalties as the amount above the bulk amount increases. For instance, if the amount is between 5 and 50 times the bulk amount, it is charged as a 2nd Degree Felony. If it exceeds 50 times the bulk amount, it goes up to a First Degree Felony.
What is a Motion to Suppress Evidence?
Motions to suppress evidence are often the key to defending drug cases in Cincinnati. Your criminal defense lawyer will help you prepare high-quality motions to suppress evidence. This involves poring over constitutional law and hyper analyzing police action for legal mistakes.
Your lawyer will submit a motion to suppress evidence to the court in a written brief. Then, at an evidentiary hearing, they will cross-examine police officers and other witnesses. These motions argue that physical evidence, such as drugs, cell phones, or paraphernalia, must be thrown out of court and cannot be used against you if the police violated your Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures.
As a check on police power, courts are authorized to throw out evidence when it was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights. This discourages the police from violating the law in the future.
Whether you are charged with simple possession of a controlled substance or possession with intent to distribute, a Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer can fight for your rights.
Contact the Cincinnati Drug Crimes Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202